Local family's lifestyle gets national attention

Local family's lifestyle gets national attention
SEATTLE -- A controversial local family's story is a huge hit on YouTube and has everyone, from Oprah to the Kinsey Institute, asking just how they do what they do.

The childless family of three is polyamorous, meaning its members can have more than one romantic relationship at once.

Terisa Greenan is in love with two men, Scott and Larry, and they're both crazy about her.

"You get something different from each of them," she said.

Larry is a software developer. He's also a musician and a nurturing mate.

Scott's the creative type, a writer and a born rebel.

"I do love them. I love them both," Terisa said.

Terisa first met Scott. They fell in love and moved in together.

Then Scott introduced Terisa to Larry. They, too, fell in love, and Larry moved in.

"We're all heterosexuals. I have a romantic relationship with both of them separately," said Terisa.

Terisa recently started dating a third man, and her two current partners are OK with that.

"I don't feel sexual jealousy in that way," said Scott.

And why should he? Larry and Scott date and sleep with other women, too. And of course, Terisa has no complaints.

"When I see Larry and his new girlfriend kissing or hugging and lying in bed together, and he has a smile on his face and he beams with joy, I think, 'I love him. I want him to experience that joy,'" she said.

Expert: "Most people want monogamy"

"It is not in most people's capacity to love multiple people at the same time, much less all live together as a happy family,"said Dr. Pepper Schwartz, relationship specialist and sociology professor at the University of Washington.

Schwartz thinks the trio loves the security of their relationship, but aren't madly in love. She says most polyamorous relationships don't last because too many emotions get in the way.

"Most people want monogamy," she said.

Not Scott.

"We like the charge of a new relationship," he said.

To each his own, says Larry.

"It's entirely about equal, responsible, consenting, fully-informed adults having the relationships that make them happy," he said.

"It's the idea that you can love more than one person! You don't have to save your love for one person," said Terisa.

Web series catches attention of Oprah, Kinsey Institute

The trio says most people are shocked by the polyamorous lifestyle at first. And ever since Terisa, an actor and budding filmmaker, started producing "Family," a mini-sitcom on the Web loosely based on her lifestyle, she's been getting a lot of attention, including some that haven't been so nice.

"There were things like, 'You're just a slut.' That was really hurtful. I laugh about it, because I don't want to cry," she said.

The Web series started as a lark while Terisa was between jobs. There's no budget, and the actors and crew work solely for experience and exposure. Terisa says "Family" is about the art of filmmaking; the insight into an alternative lifestyle is just the bonus.

The seven-minute sitcoms get thousands of hits on YouTube. And it may soon be the topic of discussion on America's most popular talk show.

"Oprah Winfrey called. It was amazing, I was like, 'How on Earth did you find me?'" Terisa said.

National exposure would complicate an already-complicated lifestyle. With three people, everything, from decision making to scheduling and arguing, takes longer.

What do their parents think? Terisa and Scott's parents have accepted their lifestyle, but Larry has kept his father in the dark.

"At some point really soon, we're going have that conversation. It won't be fun," said Larry.

But Larry can tell his father is that he's making history. The Web series recently grabbed the attention of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex at Indiana University.

"It's amazing. Alfred Kinsey is the guy who did all this sex research," said Terisa.

The institute says Terisa's work is one of a kind. The school intends to add a DVD collection of the Web series to its library as a resource.

The curator says the soap-opera format of "Family" is the first of its kind in the history of polyamorous relationships. He believes the DVD will serve as a valuable form of reference for future social historians.

As for the future of the trio, Terisa, Scott and Larry intend to grow old together.